« PreviousContinue »
saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us, and that God hath visited His people."
And now, my brethren, let us shortly collect some of the instructive lessons, which as Christians we should seek to glean from the account of our Lord's proceedings at Nain. And first, let us admire with humble thankfulness, the ready compassion which He shows for our human affliction. How truly does He teach by His own example, what He commands us by His Apostle, " to weep with those that mourn." How entirely does He show Himself to be acquainted with our griefs. Yes, and not only acquainted with them, but ready, and willing to relieve them. It is not, believe me, to the widow of Nain alone, that Christ's words, "weep not," are addressed, but to all who like her are in a season of bereavement and distress. Would that we could lay them to heart, for then we should be not a little comforted. Would that when some dear child, or relative is taken from us, we would learn to seek for consolation where it may be found, even in the pages of our Saviour's Gospel. Would that we could remember that we are not to be
sorry as men without hope" for them that sleep in the Lord Jesus. That though we cannot expect to see our dead raised to life again in this world, yet that we are assured on the strongest authority, by the promise of God who cannot lie, of their
rising again "in the resurrection at the last day." Would that after the first sharp pang occasioned by their loss, and the overflow of those tears which nature requires for its relief, we would bend ourselves in patient resignation to the wise disposal of our Heavenly Father, and cheer our hearts, and the hearts of our fellow mourners, with the prospect that revelation has opened to our view. Would, my brethren, that at such times, and at all times, we would cast our burden upon the Lord, and look forward with the eye of faith to the coming of that appointed day, when God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes, and "there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things shall have passed away."
Secondly, we are called upon to notice with all adoration and reverence, the awful display of our Saviour's power on this occasion. We have in it the strongest proof that could be afforded us of His being very God, and very Lord. Other prophets and servants of the Almighty have been enabled to work miracles, yes-even this greatest one-to raise the dead; but none in the way in which it was done by Christ. Elijah and Elisha are well known examples. Elijah was empowered to restore to the widow woman of Sarepta; Elisha to the good Shunamite, her son; but how were those miracles ac
complished? not without great effort, great struggling with death. Read the account in the fourth chapter of the Second Book of Kings, and you will see how different are God's own works, to the working of His most faithful servants.
First, Elisha sent his staff, and bid Gehazi lay
upon the face of the dead child: but to no purpose. There was neither voice nor hearing; no sign of reviving animation. After this, the prophet came himself, and knelt down alone, and prayed by the side of the bed on which the child was laid. Nor was that all; when he had prayed, "he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands; and he stretched himself upon the child, and the flesh of the child waxed warm. Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him; and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes."
Compare this laborious recovery of the departed spirit, with the simple manner in which it was effected by our Lord. He was Lord of life and death. He had but to command, and it was done. "Young man, I say unto thee, arise. And he that was dead sat up and began to speak."
Lastly, let us look at the effect of this miracle upon those who were spectators of it. "There
came a fear on all, and they glorified God." They feared because, as I have observed, they were sensible of the presence of some great and glorious Being; because they felt that He who could so with a word give back a life, could also with a word take it away.
And shall not we fear Him as well? Shall not we learn from this, and from every other display of our Lord's might and majesty, a lesson of reverence and godly fear? Indeed, my brethren, it is right and fit for us so to do. That same Jesus who, in the days of his flesh, wrought such miracles of power, has a greater work yet to perform-a work whereof we all must be witnesses. To Him has the Father entrusted the high office of raising again all that have breathed, or ever shall breathe, in this world. "The hour is coming when they who are in their graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth." Yes, to every one of us will the Lord Jesus Christ address words like those with which He awakened the widow's son at Nain; "I say unto thee, arise."
Think how differently they will sound upon different ears in that awful hour! To some they will be as a sentence of rebuke, and condemnation. To the hardened and irreligious, to the lukewarm and indifferent to these the summons to arise, will be
like a foretaste of their final doom.
To others, to the godly, and religious, to those who died as they had lived, in the faith and fear of Christ, it will speak of comfort and of assured hope, and coming reward and why? Because they will recognise in it the voice of Him whom, while on earth, they feared, and loved, and followed; and for whose sake they were willing to give up the pleasures of sin, and to endure, as good soldiers of the cross, all the hardships of the christian warfare.
God grant that we may be of this happy number! May He give us grace now in the day of our visitation, to mind the things which belong unto our true peace. May we learn to walk humbly with our God. May we accustom ourselves ever more and more to hearken to His voice which speaks to us in the Gospel, and to do whatever it commands us. May we never be ashamed to confess Christ before men. May we be enabled in all things to approve ourselves His faithful servants by much patience if need be, "in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses;" by pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned."
So shall we best be fitted for an untroubled death, and for a joyful resurrection. When the Saviour's voice is once more heard, breaking for ever the